Study Guide

Emma Chapter Eight

By Jane Austen

Chapter Eight

  • Harriet basically moves into Hartfield.
  • She even gets her own bedroom in Hartfield, for the days when she doesn’t manage to make it back to her school.
  • In case we haven’t mentioned it, education doesn’t seem to be Harriet’s biggest priority.
  • You probably figured that out on your own, huh?
  • Mr. Knightley comes to Hartfield when Harriet is out, excited to tell Emma that a handsome, responsible, upstanding man is interested in Harriet.
  • (Any guesses who it might be?) Yup – Mr. Martin.
  • Emma loves a good laugh – especially at Mr. Knightley’s expense.
  • She’s delighted to tell him that Mr. Martin has already proposed to Harriet and been rejected like the dirty farmer that he is.
  • Outraged at Harriet’s stupidity, Mr. Knightley argues with Emma. A huge spat ensues.
  • Mr. Knightley points out that Mr. Martin may be a nobody, but Harriet is a Nobody (capital N). She’s got no fortune, no father, and no future. (Not to mention the fact that she’s – well – not the brightest crayon in the box.)
  • Emma gets some great points in about women’s roles in marriage, but she can’t help feeling crummy about Knightley’s disapproval. Conscience, anyone?
  • Mr. Knightley scoffs when Emma says that Harriet is setting her sights on Mr. Elton.
  • As Knightley notes, Elton is too much of a money-grubber to ever marry a Nobody.
  • Mr. Knightley storms off, leaving a very uneasy Emma alone.
  • Luckily, Harriet soon arrives with fourth-hand news of Mr. Elton. Gossip does travel fast in a small town!